23 June 2007

You can't win if you don't play

A Dutch woman has sued the Nationale Postcode Loterij ("National Postcode Lottery"); from what I can gather, some of the winnings in this lottery are shared among all the people who bought a ticket and who share the same postal code as the jackpot winner.

This woman didn't buy a ticket, and sued for emotional distress.

A lot of US states (Pennsylvania, my home state, included) have two fairly low-stakes lottery games, one of which consists of picking three numbers from 0 to 9, and one of which consists of picking four. One could concatenate those numbers to get something of the form 867-5309, which is coincidentally the form of US phone numbers without the area code. I've always thought it would be kind of amusing if the people who had that phone number got some money. Not a large amount, because they didn't buy a ticket -- maybe a few thousand dollars. That would cause a lot less neighborly stress; Pennsylvania has ten area codes and the people who won would be in ten different geographical places, and almost certainly don't know each other.


Anonymous said...

Of course, if they gave money to people who didn't buy tickets they couldn't use the tagline "you can't win if you don't play"

Isabel said...


that's true. But as far as I can tell no actual lottery uses that tagline. If they do, Google isn't telling me about it.

John Armstrong said...

The Maryland lottery used to use the tagline "you gotta play to win".

Anonymous said...

totally agreed.

gotta swing the bat to hit the ball.

Lotto reports and stats for Powerball and the Mega Millons